29-Dec-2003 -- Herman and I left the town of George to travel the 170 kilometers to Willowmore on our motorbikes (a BMW 1150 GS Adventure for him, a Honda 750 Africa Twin for me) shortly after 5h30. We stuck to the paved roads (the N12 and N9), ignoring the temptation to take a couple of detours on some of the dirt roads. We had a Confluence to capture and this was first priority this morning, and besides, dirt roads were lying in wait on the way to the Confluence beyond Willowmore.
After breakfast in Willowmore, we travelled 20 km north on the N9 before turning west onto the R306 towards Rietbron in a north-westerly direction. This is a good gravel road and it was a thrill to keep the speed at 120 km/h - maybe slow in comparison to what some riders would do on such a road, but fast enough for me. After about 30 km there is a turn-off to the left with a sign announcing the farm Uitleg. This road was more rugged, but still in reasonably good condition. We stopped at the farm to ask permission, but the farm worker we approached said the farmer was away on holiday. He did not quite understand where we wanted to go, but nevertheless explained that we could continue with the road through a series of farm gates to the next farm, Jakkelsgoré. This we did and we were getting quite efficient, leapfrogging each other as the one opened the gate and the other closing it while the first went on to the next one. There were sheep and goats in the various camps and I could see no evidence of a vehicle recently travelling this road.
At Jakkelsgoré the GPS showed the road (now almost a track) to be 2.2 kilometers from the Confluence in a north north-westerly direction, but here the road turns away towards the south-west. We decided to ride through the farm yard - perhaps there is a farm track going in the right direction. The farm was uninhabited (the farmhouse was in ruins, but there is a fairly new and well-maintained barn) and lo and behold, a track continued straight towards the Confluence! After a while the track curved to the west again, but we found yet another track going north through yet another gate. When this track also veered too far to the west, we just pointed the bikes into the veldt and rode till we hit a dry river bed and a fence line at the same point. This was just under 1 kilometer from the Confluence so, after hopping over the fence, a quick hike was in order and at 10h45 we photographed the GPS showing the 10 zeros.
While hiking through the veldt, we saw a mouse and on the way back, a rabbit. Back on the bikes we rode straight south through the veldt, following animal tracks next to the fence line until we reached the gate we came through earlier. The return journey was uneventful except for the three meerkat that crossed the track so close in front of my bike that I'm sure I must have run over the last one's tail, and the fact that I ran out of fuel 10 kilometers outside Willowmore. What an embarrassment! Fortunately Herman was able to fetch me fuel from Willowmore in a 2 litre Sprite bottle while I hid from the sun sitting in the middle of a small bush next to the road. Thanks Herman!